Blog Archives

Lawyers, Linguists and Truthiness

Douglas Kibbee University of Illinois Are lies information? This was the question before the Supreme Court of Michigan in a 2016 case (People v. Harris, based on a 2009 incident). A police officer was charged with pulling a motorist out

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Posted in America, Article, Linguistics, Semantics

“Except in the case of Andrade”: Manuel J. Andrade’s Quileute (1933) on the questions of “drift” and “function”

Perry Wong University of Chicago While currently nearly unknown, Manuel J. Andrade (1885-1941)[1] is one of the central figures in the history of linguistics in the United States. He was a student of Boas at Columbia and an early methodological

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Posted in 20th century, America, Article, Field linguistics, History, Linguistics, Pragmatics, Structuralism

From godly analogy to “distant like floating clouds”: the inevitability of the Sino-Dene hypothesis and the scalability of comparative linguistics

Yukun Zeng University of Chicago 1. The Problem of Scaling in Language Classification Language classification is a matter of scale and scaling. Most basically, it assigns languages into mutually exclusive categories. The scale underpins the categorization but does not come

Posted in 20th century, America, Article, China, History, Linguistics

Joseph Greenberg’s comparative notebooks

Judith Kaplan University of Pennsylvania In John Webster Spargo’s 1931 translation of Holger Pedersen’s contribution to the genre of Disziplingeschichte, readers are introduced to a legion of mostly well-bearded men, marching toward the ‘discovery’ of the Comparative Method. Summing up

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Posted in 20th century, America, Article, History, Linguistics, Typology

La langue de Boas. Quelques remarques à propos de l’écriture de Franz Boas.

Chloé Laplantine UMR 7597 – Laboratoire Histoire des Théories Linguistiques, Université Paris Diderot As we require a new point of view now, so future times will require new points of view and for these the texts, and ample texts, must

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, America, Article, Field linguistics, History, Linguistics

The Chilean Academy of the Spanish Language: the institutionalization of a discourse community

Darío Rojas University of Chile In the present entry, I will make an initial case for the thesis that the Academia Chilena de la Lengua (Chilean Academy of the Spanish Language, from this point forward “Chilean Academy”), founded in 1885,

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, America, Article, Chile, History, Language teaching, Lexicography, Linguistics, Spanish

How Galilean is the ‘Galilean Method’?

Christina Behme Mount St Vincent University In many recent (and some not so recent) publications Noam Chomsky makes an appeal to Galilean science and claims the Galilean framework justifies his own approach to scientific inquiry (e.g., Chomsky, 2002, 2009, 2010,

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Posted in America, Article, Linguistics, Philosophy

Translator proditor. The affirmation of the authorial voice in Matías Ruiz Blanco.

Roxana Sarion University of Tromsø, Norway Matías Ruíz Blanco (1643-1705/1708?) was a Franciscan friar who served as a missionary, historian and linguist in colonial Venezuela. Born in the village of Estepa in the Spanish region of Andalusia, he was devoted

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Posted in 17th century, America, Article, Grammars, History, Linguistics, Missionary Linguistics

In Praise of “Exceptionless:” Linguistics among the Human Sciences at Bloomfield and Sapir’s Chicago

Michael Silverstein University of Chicago Edward Sapir (1884-1939) arrived at the University of Chicago for Autumn Quarter, 1925, having spent the summer, in transit from Ottawa, in New York City teaching summer school at Columbia. Two years later, in 1927,

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Posted in 20th century, America, Article, History, Linguistics

“Some Americans could not by any means count to 1000”: the cognitive effects of the lack of names for numbers in exotic languages from the perspective of linguistic theorists before Humboldt

Gerda Haßler Universität Potsdam The limited number word vocabulary in some languages for quantities above a specific amount has for some time been a much-debated topic. A study published in 2008 (Butterworth, Reeve, Reynolds, Lloyd 2008), which attracted much attention,

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Posted in 18th century, America, Article, Germany, History, Linguistics